- Hunger In Milwaukee
- Hunger Facts
- Priority Campaigns
- Federal Nutrition Programs
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) / FoodShare
- School Breakfast Program
- Community Eligibility Provision (CEP)
- Child & Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
- Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)
- Women, Infants & Children (WIC) Program
- Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) / Stockbox
- Senior Farmers Market Vouchers
- The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)
- Hunger Publications
- Hunger Partners
Annually, over 100 million school meals are served in Wisconsin. Students either pay full price, a reduced price or receive a free meal depending on their family’s income. Parents typically load money onto a card that the student swipes to purchase their meal. Often, the money runs out. School Nutrition Association estimates that 75% of school districts are dealing with unpaid student meal debt. Figuring out how to fix unpaid debt has been a challenge for years. Recently, this issue made national headlines as reports surfaced of schools instituting student-shaming policies like throwing out meals or stamping a child’s hand.
The USDA required all school district to adopt unpaid meal policies by July of 2018. Common practices that have come under scrutiny include:
- Stamping a child’s hand
- Denying a meal and making the child call home to request money from their parents
- Serving a cheese sandwich instead of a regular meal
- Handing the child a pink “debt” slip to take home
- Prohibiting students from graduating or participating in school clubs or activities
How does lunch shaming impact hunger?
Shaming a child by denying a meal, serving a plain cheese sandwich or offering some goldfish crackers doesn’t help their parents pay the meal bill. It only makes it more difficult for the student to focus on class and increases hunger.
Broad peer-reviewed research demonstrates children have better outcomes when they eat school meals. Singling out or withholding food from children with insufficient funds does not help school staff or students.
Send your elected officials a message and tell them to support policies that outlaw shaming children at school!